Bullying has been a problem in children’s lives for a long time. But since the internet came along they are more at risk than ever before. Bullying is a sad fact of life but it can be monitored, limited and prevented using the right techniques. Cyberbullying is more prevalent than ever before and has, in extreme cases, been linked with self-harm and suicide. It’s something that we all, as parents, have a duty to monitor. If you think your child is either inflicting cyberbullying on others, or that they are being the victim of cyber bullies, then you need to take action. As always, prevention is better than cure, so here are some ways you can stay one step ahead.
Knowledge is Power
Ignorance is no excuse when it comes to cyberbullying. The risks are very real, and every adult needs to educate themselves and their children in order to know what they are dealing with. You need to understand what it is, when it occurs and how it occurs. When you know the risks you can then teach your children about them.
If your children use laptops, PCs or smart phones then they need to be fitted with full parental controls. Keeping an eye on your child’s internet activity is the best way to know exactly what is happening. If you find any sign of bullying taking place you need to deal with it straight away. Let your child know that you will not stand for any malicious behaviour online or anywhere else. If you see that they are being bullied, then it’s time to speak with teachers and other experts to decide how best to nip it in the bud. Every school has an anti-bullying policy and they will be able to help you decide how best to tackle it.
Set the RulesYou and your children need to agree rules on how to behave online. Let them know the risks of posting potentially harmful or hurtful things in a public forum (for example Facebook). Tell them that they should never ever air their dirty laundry in public, and never use rude or offensive language. If they have a problem with a friend at school, then help them deal with it in person, rather than hiding behind their computer. Let them know that if you uncover any bullying on their part, the consequences will be very severe.
Every child should learn that they must treat people the way they want to be treated. This is just as important online as it is in the real world. Any behaviour that could be construed as bullying should be dealt with extremely firmly; otherwise they could find themselves in big trouble with their school, or even the law. Teaching your children to be kind at all times is one of the best things you can do for them. If they fall victim to a bully themselves, help them find the best way to handle it. It’s a sensitive and hurtful subject but bullying should never, ever be ignored.
Today's guest author, Jim Powell, is a software reviewer at Well Researched Reviews, a software reviewing firm. He is an ardent blogger and enjoys sharing his views on various topics in his articles.